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Paolo Uccello

Paolo Uccello, born Paolo di Dono, was a Florentine painter and mathematician, notable for his pioneering work on visual perspective in art. In his book Lives of the Most Excellent Painters and Architects Giorgio Vasari wrote that Uccello was obsessed by his interest in perspective and would stay up all night in his study trying to grasp the exact vanishing point. While his contemporaries used perspective to narrate different or succeeding stories, Uccello used perspective to create a feeling of depth in his paintings, his best known works are the three paintings representing the battle of San Romano, which were wrongly entitled the Battle of Sant'Egidio of 1416 for a long period of time. Paolo worked in the Late Gothic tradition, emphasizing colour and pageantry rather than the classical realism that other artists were pioneering, his style is best described as idiosyncratic, he left no school of followers. He has had some influence on literary criticism; the sources for Paolo Uccello’s life are few: Giorgio Vasari’s biography, written 75 years after Paolo’s death, a few contemporary official documents.

Due to the lack of sources his date of birth is questionable. It is believed that Uccello was born in Pratovecchio in 1397, his tax declarations for some years indicate that he was born in 1397, but in 1446 he claimed to have been born in 1396, his father, Dono di Paolo, was a barber-surgeon from Pratovecchio near Arezzo. His nickname Uccello came from his fondness for painting birds. From 1412 until 1416 he was apprenticed to the famous sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti. Ghiberti was the designer of the doors of the Florence Baptistery and his workshop was the premier centre for Florentine art at the time. Ghiberti's late-Gothic, narrative style and sculptural composition influenced Paolo, it was around this time that Paolo began his lifelong friendship with Donatello. In 1414, Uccello was admitted to the painters' guild, Compagnia di San Luca, just one year in 1415, he joined the official painter's guild of Florence Arte dei Medici e degli Speziali. Although the young Uccello had left Ghiberti's workshop by the mid 1420s, he stayed on good terms with his master and may have been privy to the designs for Ghiberti's second set of Baptistery doors, The Gates of Paradise.

These featured a battle scene "that might well have impressed itself in the mind of the young Uccello," and thus influenced The Battle of San Romano. According to Vasari, Uccello’s first painting was a Saint Anthony between the saints Cosmas and Damianus, a commission for the hospital of Lelmo. Next, he painted two figures in the convent of Annalena. Shortly afterwards, he painted three frescoes with scenes from the life of Saint Francis above the left door of the Santa Trinita church. For the Santa Maria Maggiore church, he painted a fresco of the Annunciation. In this fresco, he painted a large building with columns in perspective. According to Vasari, people found this to be a great and beautiful achievement because this was the first example of how lines could be expertly used to demonstrate perspective and size; as a result, this work became a model for artists who wished to craft illusions of space in order to enhance the realness of their paintings. Paolo painted the Lives of the Church Fathers in the cloisters of the church of San Miniato, which sat on a hill overlooking Florence.

According to Vasari, Paolo protested against the monotonous meals of cheese pies and cheese soup served by the abbot by running away, returned to finish the job only after the abbot promised him a more varied diet. Uccello was asked to paint a number of scenes of distempered animals for the house of the Medici; the scene most appreciated by Vasari was his depiction of a fierce lion fighting with a venom-spouting snake. Uccello loved to paint animals and he kept a wide variety of pictures of animals birds, at home; this love for birds is what led to Paolo Uccelli. By 1424, Paolo was earning his own living as a painter. In that year, he proved his artistic maturity by painting episodes of the now-badly-damaged Creation and the Fall for the Green Cloister of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. Again, this assignment allowed him to paint a large number of animals in a lively manner, he succeeded in painting trees in their natural colours. This was a skill, difficult for many of his predecessors, so Uccello began to acquire a reputation for painting landscapes.

He followed this with Scenes from the Life of Noah for the Green Cloister. These scenes brought him great fame in Florence. In 1425, Uccello travelled to Venice, where he worked on the mosaics for the façade of San Marco, which have all since been lost. During this time, he painted some frescoes in the Prato Cathedral and Bologna; some suggest he visited Rome with his friend Donatello before returning to Florence in 1431. After he returned, Uccello remained in Florence for most of the rest of his life, executing works for various churches and patrons, most notably the Duomo. Despite his leave from Florence, interest in Uccello did not diminish. In 1432, the Office of Works asked the Florentine ambassador in Venice to enquire after Uccello’s reputation as an artist. In 1436, he was given the commission for the monochromatic fresco of Sir John Hawkwood; this equestrian monument exemplified his keen interest in perspective. The condottiere and his horse are presented, it is thought that he is the author of the frescoe

History of Vilnius

The city of Vilnius, the capital and largest city of Lithuania, has undergone a diverse history since it was first settled in the Stone Age. The head of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, it changed hands between Imperial and Soviet Russia, Germany and Lithuania multiple times, it was often the site of conflict after the end of World War I and during World War II. It became the capital of independent, modern-day Lithuania when the Soviet Union recognized the country's independence in August 1991; the earliest settlements in the area of present-day Vilnius appear to be of mesolithic origin. Numerous archaeological findings in different parts of the city prove that the area has been inhabited by peoples of various cultures since the early Middle Ages. A Baltic settlement it was inhabited by Slavs and Germans; some historians identify the city with a forgotten capital of King Mindaugas. The city was first mentioned in written sources as Vilna in 1323 as the capital city of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the letters of Gediminas.

Gediminas built his wooden castle on a hill in the city. The city became more known after he wrote a circular letter of invitation to Germans and Jews to the principal Hansa towns in 1325, offering free access into his domains to men of every order and profession. Vilnius was granted city rights by Jogaila in 1387, following the Christianization of Lithuania and the construction of the Vilnius Cathedral; the town was populated by local Lithuanians, but soon the population began to grow as craftsmen and merchants of other nationalities settled in the city. According to a tale, tired after a busy hunting day, Gediminas had a prophetic dream about an iron wolf howling on a top of the hill; when he asked a krivis Lizdeika for an explanation of the dream, he was told that he must build a castle on the top of that hill, strategically surrounded by three rivers and a grand city around that hill, so that "the iron-wolf-like sound about this great city would spread around the world". Some versions of this tale state, that for his advice, Lizdeika was given a name of Radziwiłł.

The derivative of a Lithuanian name Radvila has been interpreted as derived from the Belarusian word "радзіць" or Polish "radzi". English king Henry IV spent a full year of 1390 supporting the unsuccessful siege of Vilnius by Teutonic Knights with his 300 fellow knights. During this campaign Henry Bolingbroke bought captured Lithuanian princes and apparently took them back to England. King Henry's second expedition to Lithuania in 1392 illustrates the financial benefits to the Order of these guest crusaders, his small army consisted of over 100 men, including longbow archers and six minstrels, at a total cost to the Lancastrian purse of £4,360. Much of this sum benefited the local economy through the purchase of silverware and the hiring of boats and equipment. Despite the efforts of Bolingbroke and his English crusaders, two years of attacks on Vilnius proved fruitless. Between 1503 and 1522, for the sake of protection from Crimean Tatar attacks, the city was surrounded by defensive walls that had nine gates and three towers.

Communities of Lithuanians, Jews and Germans were present in different areas of Vilnius. The Orthodox inhabitants concentrated in the eastern part of the city left of the "Castle Street", while Germans and Jews occupied the western side of the city around the "German Street"; the town reached the peak of its development under the reign of Sigismund II Augustus, Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, who relocated there in 1544. In the 16th century Vilnius became a growing and developing city, as Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland Sigismund II Augustus and his mother queen Bona Sforza were spending much of their time in the Royal Palace of Lithuania; the Polonization of Vilnius proceeded through the influx of Polish elements and assimilation of non-Polish burghers. It started in the late 14th century with the arrival of Polish clergy, followed by artisans and merchants. After the Union of Lublin that created the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the city flourished further in part due to the establishment of Vilnius University by Stephen Báthory, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1579.

The university soon developed into one of the most important scientific and cultural centers of the region and the most notable scientific center of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Political and social life was in full swing there; this is among all proven by the Lithuanian Statutes issued in the 16th century, the last of, still in force until the 19th century. In 1610 the city was racked by a large fire. In 1769 the Rasos Cemetery was founded. Developing, the city was open to migrants from both East and West. In addition to old citizens, larger Jewish and German communities established themselves in the city; each group made its contribution to the life of the city, crafts and science prospered. In the 17th century and polonized elements achieved a cultural and numerical preponderance. In 1655 during the Russo-Polish War in 1654–1667 Vilnius was captured by the forces of Tsardom of Russia and was pillaged and the population was massacred; the death toll of around 20,000 included a large proportion of Vilnius Jews.

The city's growth lost its momentum for many years. During the decline

George Moloney

George Michael "Specka" Moloney was a regarded Australian rules footballer in both the West Australian National Football League and the Victorian Football League. Moloney had a formidable reputation as a goalsneak and a key forward. After four years at Claremont in the 1920s, Moloney drew strong attention as a goalsneak for Western Australia at the 1930 Adelaide Carnival; the following year, he moved to Victoria and joined the Geelong Football Club, where he played for five years at full forward. In 1936, Moloney returned to Claremont in the WANFL, he won the Sandover Medal in 1936 as the league's fairest and best player playing as a centre. In 1938, he led Claremont to its first-ever premiership, repeated the feat in the next two seasons. All told, he played a total of 190 WAFL games, some of them alongside brothers Syd. Arguably the greatest name in the history of the Claremont Football Club, one of the most uniquely versatile champions to have adorned the game, George "Specka" Moloney rounded off his association with the Tigers by coaching them, sadly without success, from 1948 to 1951.

In 1996, Moloney was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame and in 2004 he was inducted into the West Australian Football Hall of Fame where he has legend status. Ross, John; the Australian Football Hall of Fame. Australia: HarperCollinsPublishers. P. 100. ISBN 0-7322-6426-X. AFL Hall of Fame